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Retribution for a Crime Unsolved: An English/Shakespearean Sonnet

John is a long-time poet, short fiction, and article writer. He loves story-telling and also has a Certificate in Permaculture Design.

A Sonnet by Any Other Name

I wrote this poem as an example of how to write an English/Shakespearean Sonnet. I am by no means an expert on sonnets having only written three, however, I have studied the guidelines and I think this meets them all.

Many sonnets seem to use love or heartbreak as a theme, but for some strange reason my sonnets seem to delve into the dark side of my psyche and all have crime or suspense as their theme. This one "Retribution for a Crime Unsolved" is no exception.

The Most Famous Sonnet Ever Written

English Sonnet: Basic Rules

English Sonnets are a form of poetry that was created during the renaissance. English sonnets consist of 14 lines; three, four line stanzas accompanied by a two line closing stanza. The rhyming scheme for an English Sonnet is:


This means that the first and third lines of each four line stanza rhyme and the second and fourth lines of each four line stanza rhyme. The two lines of the closing stanza should rhyme as well.

Each line of the stanza should have no more and no less than ten syllables.

Retribution for a Crime Unsolved

Without a clue, I could not solve the crime,

I had to search for further evidence.

To find the killer I’d devote my time,

Cold murder is a capital offense.

But where to turn to find the clue I need?

Sometimes it is the place you least expect.

Amazed at what someone will do for greed,

For human life, they show no real respect.

And even though the victim is now gone,

I will not stop until I have my man,

Ensuring that the law is handed down.

In retribution the best way I can.

But finally I solved this murder case,

DNA found upon the victim's face.

Original Closing Stanza

The original two line closing stanza was:

"But sadly this murder remains unsolved,

A cold case now and filed as “UNRESOLVED.”

However, I felt this didn't effectively add closure to the case or perfectly reflect the poem's title. My good friend manatita confirmed those feelings and offered some helpful tips. Thanks for your help bro. I hope you like what I came up with from your suggestions.


John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 07, 2016:

Thank yo for the encouraging comment, Shyron. I enjoy writing sonnets and I think you'll find there will be more of these.

Shyron E Shenko on September 07, 2016:

John, you did a great job of crafting this wonderful poem. I hope to read more from you like this.

Blessings my friend

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 30, 2016:

Hi, Mike. I am always trying to challenge myself with different forms of writing. It may result in me being OK at a lot of different genres, but an expert at none. At least I can say I tried. Thanks for the kind comment.

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on August 30, 2016:

Hi John - Interesting that you are expanding your field of writing efforts. Here again you build up the story as you move along (quickly) to the conclusion. Nicely done.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 29, 2016:

Thank you Deb. Yes, you are right about manatita's suggestion. I do think it was the preferred ending.

Deb Hirt on August 28, 2016:

I think this is wonderful and manatita's suggestion was spot on.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 23, 2016:

Thank you, Audrey. Sonnets can be a challenge.I really value that comment. Much appreciated.

AudreyHowitt on August 23, 2016:

Well done John! I find sonnets to be a difficult form to work with--but you have done admirably with it--love your endings--both of them!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 23, 2016:

Thank you Shauna, much appreciated. Hope all is well with you.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on August 23, 2016:

Well done, John! I actually like both endings.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 22, 2016:

I know how you feel Missy. I recently submitted my scrambled egg recipe hub to Delishably. They replied that it was an "outstanding" hub but the curator suggested so,e changes before it would be suitable for the move I.e. "Remove the poem". Well I couldn't do that, I felt it was what made my scrambled egg recipe hub unique. I compromised and moved the poem from the front of the hub to the end so readers would have a choice to read it or not, and resubmitted it. Got an email back saying it wasn't suitable..maybe there were too many similar recipes already and it wasn't unique enough..go figure. I thought..bummer...now I have to wait another 60 days...then surprisingly found out this was selected by them to move to LetterPile. I can't figure them out.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 22, 2016:

I agree with you about the niche sites, Eric. They catch me everytime. I go to comment and then have to sign in and do it again..annoying. Yes, the various forms of poetry do have a lot of mathematical rules. I usually just write what feels right to me and rarely attempt the traditional forms but now and again I take the challenge hence this sonnet. Glad you like what I write anyway. Cheers.

Missy Smith from Florida on August 22, 2016:

Hey Jodah, I recently tried to get one of my hubs picked up by soapboxie.com, but they turned it down. It's disappointing really. I think it was a good one to have there, but I guess they have their specific reasons. The bummer of it is, that you can only submit one article to the network sites within a 60-day period. I guess, I'll have to wait until they pick mine up or just stick with merely posting here on hubpages. lol.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on August 22, 2016:

Bummer about these niche sites. You write a comment and it erases it if you have not signed in already - and it does not tell you it is a niche site before hand. There I vented.

Great read here. Great author. You shine my friend. It is nice of you to bring us with you. A whole crime book in just a few words - amazing.

I don't get the geometry of poetry but I know what I like, thank you.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 22, 2016:

Thank you for reading this Faith, and for your interesting comment. I agree it is strange that my muse keeps directing me to crime sonnets. That is a good suggestion to try a "heat of passion" sonnet combining crime and romance. Hope your Internet connection is sorted out. Blessings.

Faith Reaper from southern USA on August 21, 2016:

Hi John,

Here you go again using your creative style in creating a crime sonnet! Very clever. I appreciate the explanation on what makes up a sonnet and its rhyming scheme.

I've been having intermittent Internet connection problems for the past couple of days ...so I am playing catch up. As soon as I think it is good to go, it goes down on me.

That is interesting your muse takes to you crime scenes with sonnets in lieu of romance ...hmm, maybe you can come up with a romantic "heat of passion" crime one : )

Blessings always

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 21, 2016:

Devika, Thank you for the kind comment and so glad you learnt something.

Rasma, I am glad you enjoyed this who dunnit. An English sonnet has a set structure and number of syllables etc but is really not that difficult.

Gypsy Rose Lee from Daytona Beach, Florida on August 21, 2016:

A great big applause to you. Loved this who dunnit very much and you made it seem so easy to create an English sonnet.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on August 21, 2016:

Hi Jodah nice of you to write a beautiful hub. You are good at writing and I have learned a lot here.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 20, 2016:

Thank you for the wonderful comment, Missy. Yes, we seem to be on the same page with a lot of our thinking...long distance soul mates maybe :) I never liked Shakespeare either. Some of the more modern adaptions in movies of his work are ok though. I remember at school we had to read King Lear, Hamlet etc and then write a review. I used to cheat and read the first and last chapters of the book then borrow an already written review from the library and write mine using that rather than read the entire boring book.

Annabel Lee by Poe is a true classic and wonderful poem. Did you ever read my poem Midnight Rendezvous (the 32nd Psalm)? I based it's metre on Poe's "The Raven" after listening to a reading of that.

I wasn't expecting this to be selected for Letterpile, but was pleasantly surprised. Maybe HP staff felt guilty declining my Scrambled Egg hub for a move to Delishably.

Thank you again dear friend, for your support.

Missy Smith from Florida on August 20, 2016:

Hey John,

I am so much like you; it is amazing. I, too, do not attempt sonnets often. I am not a fan of Shakespeare, although I have tried to read some of his poetry. I have watched Romeo and Juliet, but I will admit; I only really stood up at attention to the emotional and dramatic suicide scene. What can I say? It's the part I related to the most. lol.

I, however, do love your version of a sonnet. It grabs my attention and is very interesting. Don't get me wrong; love is great. Light and inspiration are wonderful, but I need a balance of both I think. If I constantly read about love and light, it seems as though I lose touch with reality. Not that I don't think it would be wonderful to live only in the place of positivity, but I strangely like to be sad. I feel we need tears to cleanse our soul and pain to keep us focused. Is that bad? lol.

As you know, I gravitate to the great poetry of Edgar Allan Poe and Sylvia Plath. I recently came across one of Edgar's that I love and when I read it aloud, I just felt exhilaration for his verses. It's the one entitled; Annabel Lee. It's about love. A dark love tale, but still about love. That counts right? ;)

I think this poem of yours is really good. I don't care to categorize a poem. I don't study too much on this. Sometimes, I try to give mine the correct version title. My last one I added the words "Carpe Diem" because I came across others who had wrote in a similar tone and stated it as "Carpe Diem Poetry." That fit for me. It may fit for a lot of my poetry, as I talk in a seize the day attitude. Yes, I am forward like that. lol.

Anyway, another hub from one of my favorites that I took pleasure in reading. Congratulations on making it here to Letterpile again. That speaks greatly of your talent my dear friend. ~Missy

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 20, 2016:

Thank you, Cam, I too try my best to be a little bit different from the conventional.

Chris Mills from Traverse City, MI on August 20, 2016:

I definitely like your crime slant with this sonnet. I enjoy a good love story, but I also enjoy breaking out of conventions. Well done, John.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 18, 2016:

Thank you for the encouragement, Flourish. Sonnets do offer a nice challenge because you have to obey certain rules, but they are also fun to write because of that, I think. I wanted to try something a little different to "love."

FlourishAnyway from USA on August 18, 2016:

I'm so impressed you're writing sonnets! And I especially like that your topic is not love, as is typical with sonnets. Nicely done.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 17, 2016:

Thank you, Dianna. Glad you enjoyed this.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 17, 2016:

Thanks Blossom, I know romantic, hey? Each time I have attempted to write a sonnet (I have no idea why) my muse takes me towards the theme of crime. Maybe next time.

teaches12345 on August 17, 2016:

What a clever case and written in the best of style.

Bronwen Scott-Branagan from Victoria, Australia on August 17, 2016:

Really good and an unusual choice of topic. I've always thought of a sonnet as being romantic, so this was different.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 16, 2016:

Thank you, John. I appreciate your supportive comment.

John Ward on August 16, 2016:

I liked both endings but much prefer the second choice. Both were Good. the Sonnet demonstrates your understanding. Very well done. god bless and continue to do so.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 16, 2016:

Thank you, Frank. That means a lot coming from the "King of Crime."

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on August 16, 2016:

Jodah, I simply loved it.. awesome my friend :)

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 16, 2016:

Thanks, Glenis. Any reaction is fine..smile away. One day I'll have to write a love sonnet.

Glen Rix from UK on August 15, 2016:

Your sonnet ticks all the boxes for form. Certainly an unusual choice of subject - I have never before come across one that was't about love. Made me smile- though not sure if that was your intention:)

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 15, 2016:

@Ruby, you should really give writing a sonnet a try. It is an interesting exercise and not really that difficult.

@Diana, thank you for reading and commenting. Glad you enjoyed this.

Diana L Pierce from Potter County, Pa. on August 15, 2016:

Well done. I like that you included the basic rules to an English sonnet.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on August 15, 2016:

II like your crime sonnet. There's so many ways to write poetry. I've never tried this, although I love to do haiku, senryu and rictameter.

manatita44 from london on August 15, 2016:

Yes, yes, I love it. Reflects your title well. Excellent Sonnet! Thanks for the mention. Have a great day!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 15, 2016:

Yes, Jo. I never really appreciated the sonnet until I tried writing them myself. Thanks for reading this.

Jo Miller from Tennessee on August 15, 2016:

Thanks for your sonnet and the lesson on how they are constructed. It must make you appreciate sonnets even more when you try writing them.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 15, 2016:

Thank you, Bill. I am doing my best to perfect them.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on August 15, 2016:

Well, John, you may not be an expert at sonnets, but you are light years better than I am. Well done!

Ashi on August 15, 2016:

You are welcome Mr. Jodah. You are such a fine, writer. I got to learn some much from your Hubs :) .

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 15, 2016:

Thank you for the kind comment, Ashish Dadgaa. Much appreciated.

Ashi on August 15, 2016:

Very nicely written Mr. Jodah.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 15, 2016:

Cheers bro, I did and appreciate your great help. Check out the closing stanza.

manatita44 from london on August 15, 2016:

Great idea. Check your e-mail. You may find something to play with. Otherwise excellent effort indeed!!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 15, 2016:

Thanks manatita, I appreciate that feedback. That was my original intention...to solve the case or a retribution in the last two lines...but I failed to come up with it. I'll keep working on it and may change the ending if I can.

manatita44 on August 15, 2016:

There is no questioning the power and beauty of the poem; the rhyming scheme is awesome too.

I read it twice and while it's great as it is, I would give the last two lines a different slant. A slight twist to add the retribution, perhaps, or a solving of the case. This will sort of 'wrap things up' for your wonderful sonnet. What do you think?

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